What is an Attorney-in-Fact or Agent?
An Attorney-in-Fact or also known as Agent is an appointed person who will make short or long-term business decisions on behalf of the Principal. The person who chooses the Attorney-in-Fact is referred to as the Principal.
The Principal can appoint anyone to be their Attorney-in-Fact as long as a POA has been signed. There are 4 Types of POA that the Principal can consider. However, this title does not give the person the authorization to practice law.
Continue reading to learn more about who can be chosen at an Attorney-in-Fact or Agent. Abrate & Olsen Law group are happy to guide you through every step in the Power of Attorney process. Schedule a consultation with our experienced Estate Planning Attorneys.
Choosing a Trusted Attorney-in-Fact or Agent
The most critical decision you make when developing a POA is who you will appoint as your agent. The most common choices our clients choose include a spouse, adult child, relative, attorney, or trusted friend.
No matter who you choose, it is important to be certain that the agent will act in your best interests, respect your wishes, and won’t abuse the responsibilities or powers entrusted to them.
When choosing your agent, they must meet three legal requirements:
- Be of legal age of majority in your state
- Cannot be an owner or employee of nursing homes or care facilities where you live or receive treatment
- Cannot currently be in a state of bankruptcy
“Requiring agents to keep up-to-date, accurate records of all transactions and decisions made on your behalf is a condition we include as part of every POA we create for clients,” says attorney Abrate. “Receiving regular updates of the agent’s actions allows you, or a selected third party, to ensure they are consistently acting in your best interest.”
Since the agent is acting as you, you can be held liable for any decisions they make. While you are legally protected against intentional misconduct from your agent they are not responsible for “unknowingly” doing something wrong. Early detection of any unintentional decisions made on your behalf can save you money or future legal issues.
What Powers Can Be Delegated to Your Attorney-in-Fact
The flexibility of a POA is what makes them a valuable part of a well-constructed estate plan. Within the various POAs, you can specify what decisions your attorney-in-fact is able to make on your behalf. Common powers granted to your agent can include five main interests.
You can give your agent the ability to invest, trade, and manage specific areas or all business transactions and decisions, including handling and claims or litigation matters.
The ability to purchase gifts, employ professionals to care for you or family, and to buy, sell, or trade any or part of your personal property.
The control of your banking, tax, government and retirement dealings including, living trust and estate decisions. Additionally, financial powers can also allow your agent to control personal life insurance policies and continuing to donate on your behalf to charities.
This allows your attorney-in-fact the broad authority to make any decisions you would have the ability to make if you were present.
With this you are able to give complete or selective power to your agent to buy, sell, rent and otherwise manage any real estate owned by you including residential, commercial or personal use.
Experienced Legal Professionals
With years of experience developing solutions with Estate Planning tools, we offer you and your family peace of mind your wishes and desires are accurately and legally documented. To schedule a free Power of Attorney consultation with our friendly and experienced attorneys,
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A few days ago my parents sat me down and asked me if I could help with their Estate Planning by making me the decision maker of all their assets. I contacted Abrate & Olsen and they were understanding to my situation and made me feel very comfortable about the whole process. It wasn’t so bad after all! They made sure everything was clear before any decisions were finalized. I am now officially the Attorney-in-Fact. Thanks Abrate & Olsen for helping my family!”
~ Julie N. – Folsom, CA